ALBANY — Using the rules of a well-known leftist organizer can work just as well for organizations desiring to influence the government to stop taxing and spending, said Nan E. Swift, a campaign manager for FreedomWorks.
“We don’t want anything. We want less. Less taxes, less government,” Swift said. “Alinsky understood how people worked. The rules reflect organizing principles that work.”
Swift was referring to a book, “Rules for Radicals,” by Saul Alinsky, at a 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. grassroots organizing training session in Albany at Cafe 230 on Broad Avenue. The session was sponsored by the Albany Area Tea Party Patriots and FreedomWorks.
Swift told the crowd that Alinsky advised those who organize against the status quo to use 12 rules.
1. Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.
2. Never go outside the expertise of your people.
3. Whenever possible go outside the expertise of your enemy.
4. Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.
5. Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
6. A good tactic is one your people enjoy.
7. A tactic that drags on too long is a drag.
8. Keep the pressure on. Never let up.
9. The threat is usually more terrifying than the threat itself.’
10. If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.
11. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
12. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.
The people at the session seemed to like what they heard as Swift moved to the second part of the session: “Effective communication with elected officials.”
“I’m energized by the fact that people turned out to learn how to stand up for their beliefs,” said Mark Meager, an Albany resident. “We can organize at the grassroots and make a difference.”